'Great': Oblak says he really likes £150k per-week Chelsea player, Tuchel's only picked him twice

Atletico Madrid’s Jan Oblak admitted he admired Kepa Arrizabalaga and believed his problems at Chelsea would soon pass, speaking to the Times.

The career paths of both goalkeepers have certainly gone in different directions over the past few years.

Kepa went from being Chelsea’s club record signing and the most expensive ‘keeper in history, to being replaced by Edouard Mendy last September.

Photo by Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images

Oblak on the other hand has continued to stake a claim for the best goalie in world football, with very little in the way of opposition.

Madrid’s No 1 is set to face off against Kepa’s Chelsea later today in the Champions League knock-out stage.

Although they will be rivals on the night, Oblak had sympathy for the Spaniard’s situation at Stamford Bridge.

“Kepa’s a great goalkeeper,”, he said.

“When he was here in Spain, I really liked him and when he went to Chelsea, I like him as well. He maybe had some difficult moments.

“He knows what he’s capable of doing and I’m sure he believes in himself and now played two of the past four games and did great.

“It’s impossible to pay so big amount for a goalkeeper if he’s not a great one. He had some difficult moments but I’m sure that he’s going to pass this and show everyone that they misjudged him.”

Photo by Eric Alonso/Getty Images

Chelsea probably thought they same when they forked out £71m (BBC Sport) to sign him from Athletico Bilbao in 2018.

After a decent first season, the £150,000 per-week (Spotrac) player has been in decline.

Photo by PAUL CHILDS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Just for context, Atletico Madrid paid just £12.8m (Sky Sports) to buy Oblak from Benfica.  

He directly replaced Thibaut Courtois, who was returning to Chelsea after being out on loan in La Liga.

Courtios then joined Real Madrid, which prompted the Blues to lump on Kepa.

With Thomas Tuchel now in charge, the 26-year-old may have a slim chance of regaining ground on his lost career.

But those chances are pretty minute, as he has only played twice so far.

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Nathaniel is a football journalist who graduated from the University of Derby. He has worked at Burton Albion as part of their media team for two years. Nathaniel produces regular articles for the club’s official website and match-day programme. He covered the 2018 U20 Women’s World Cup in Brittany and has reported from grounds ranging from non-league up to the Premier League.